Colson Whitehead is a New York Times bestselling writer, a MacArthur Fellow and the author of the highly acclaimed novel The Underground Railroad, a tour de force chronicling a young slaveâ€™s desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South, which won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2016 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2017. In the novel, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The UndergroundRailroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one womanâ€™s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share. Whitehead is also the author of the novels ZoneOne, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, JohnHenry Days and Apex Hides the Hurt, as well as The Colossus of New York, a collection of essays and The NobleHustle, a memoir.
Funds provided by the Arthur E. Guedel Memorial Lectureship Fund.